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I'll teach your grandmother to suck AGWS!
Googleshng - February 27 '03- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time
Dear gods. Do you realize what I just made reference to? Anyway, thus
far I'm actually pleasantly surprised by Xenosaga. What gameplay there is pretty nifty at first glance,
and there even seems to be some attrition to the battles before you get everyone a fast deathblow.
Meanwhile to continue my review as an anime series: The dub is surprisingly good for the most part, but
the first episode is HIGHLY derivitive of Gunbuster.
Sadly I haven't seen a rehash of the ultimate fight scene thus far.
Apples and Oranges.
IÕm a huge Final Fantasy fan and IÕve had my share of both western and Japanese RPGs.
However, there is a group of hardcore AD&D fans who say that Japanese RPGs like the Final Fantasy series are not RPGs. Instead they refer to them as SDGs (story driven games).
There reason is this. In traditional RPGs, you create the characters and assume his role, whereas in Japanese RPGs the character is already created and you tag along. Japanese RPGs are much more linear, whereas western RPGs have many side-quests to choose from, even from the start. In addition, the choices you make early in a western RPG can have different outcomes later in the game, whereas Japanese RPGs the decisions you make donÕt matter later in the game.
They also say that Japanese RPGs place too much emphasis on story and cinematics. You spend too much time watching movies and reading text rather than hacking monsters and stuff.
Also, the RPG genre was invented in America, so western RPGs are the true RPGs. BaldurÕs Gate, Neverwinter Nights, and Planescape: Torment are true RPGs. The Japanese games are imitations.
To be honest, I heavily disagree with these guys. IÕve played AD&D games like BaldurÕs Gate and IÕve play most of the Final Fantasy series. I still consider Final Fantasy RPGs because they have all the other elements like leveling up, towns and shops, talking to townspeople, monsters in dungeons, etc. ItÕs like apples and oranges. TheyÕre both fruits, just different tastes.
But these guys argue that Òrole-playingÓ means that you create a character and assume that role. They say that Japanese RPGs donÕt deserve the title Òrole-playing gameÓ because theyÕre missing the most basic element.
IÕm at a loss and I have no idea how to counter their arguments. Can you help?
Well first of all, anyone who says that console RPGs have nothing to do with paper/PC RPGs, AND that console
RPGs are imitations of them, is already countering their own argument. Past that, well, the first point
IS true, but so what? Many genre labels are meaningless. By all rights, Adventure games should be called
Puzzle games, and Puzzle games should be called Epilepsy Enducers.
If we're getting into semantics though, creating your own character has absolutely nothing to do with
roleplaying. Roleplaying is just when you act in character for whatever character you have. Ironically
enough, when it comes to console and computer games, it's a whole lot easier to do that when you're playing
anything BUT an RPG. I mean, when I play Alpha Centauri I REALLY get into the head of whichever faction
I'm playing and act accordingly.
Odd group to defend.
There's a question at the bottom of this, but
the top part is a complaint that I have which I think
I've noticed this kind of thing a lot in the
past with most of the previous Q & A hosts, and it
just keeps returning to bug me. People complain about
the gamers who started with FFVII as their first RPG
as not really being qualified to "talk shop." As one
of your readers wrote in yesterday, "If I were a
malevolent dictator, I'd make it illegal for people
like 'RPG MASTER Stick' to exist. I'm not sure he even
fits the qualifications of an RPG Master, let alone a
stick." Another letter noted that gamers who begin
with FFVII are "newer" to RPGs. In other places,
there is a lot of criticism of people who started with
this game. The criticism needs to stop.
First of all, they're not "new" to the genre
in any sense. FFVII came out how long ago? Five
years? That's right. A person who was thirteen then
would be a more mature and discerning eighteen year
old now (although I realize that not everyone becomes
more mature and discerning with age, but it's a common
trend). RPG MASTER Stick himself noted that he has
played through the games that are generally considered
to be "classics." Should people be allowed to deride
him based solely on the first game he played? No. If
he picked up FFVII when it first came out and has been
playing RPGs ever since, then he's been playing RPGs
for five years.
I began playing RPGs with Super Mario RPG and
loved it. After that, I picked up Breath of Fire, the
Final Fantasy games, Chrono Trigger, and many others.
But Super Mario RPG was my first RPG, so it still has
a warm and fuzzy place in my heart. FFVII was my
first game for my Playstation, so that also has a
(slightly less) warm and fuzzy place in my heart.
Those warm and fuzzy sentiments tend to cloud over the
flaws in a game, no matter how bad it is.
People are entitled to their feelings. When
someone says that their first RPG was FFVII, others
shouldn't roll their eyes and dismiss anything else he
says out of hand. Stick brings up a valid point that
I know many people share. RPGs aren't what they used
to be. Is that just because we are looking through
rose-colored nostalgia glasses, or because the old
games were really better? Think of it this way, the
more you play or watch anything, the more easily you
can identify the cliches of the genre. The ideas that
were neat and innovative in the first game you played
are no longer as neat the more you see them. It's the
same with reading Sci-Fi novels or watching Anime.
Anyway, this was long, but I do have a
completely unrelated question.
In Suikoden II, when you level up your
characters in normal battle, does it have any effect
on the strength of a unit in a large battle scene (the
ones where you command individual units)? For
example, if I were to level up the characters in
Viktor's unit like mad, would it change the unit's
attack power in the battle scenes?
How's that for non sequitur?
According to my sources, yes it does help you, although not all that noticably.
Anyway though, getting back to your FF7 tirade, first off I feel I should note that I did no bashing of
FF7 fanboys this week. I have no problem with people who never played any RPGs before FF7, and in fact
if I knew any personally the biggest reaction it'd get from me is that I'd likely let them borrow some
of my old favorites.
That said, I'm sorry to break this to you, but it IS an estabilished fact that those fans of RPGs who
are illiterate nigh braindead losers with nothing better to do than type in all caps in public forums
are almost entirely a subset of people whose first RPG was FF7.
That sort of thing happens all the time really. I mean, the bulk of racists in this country are white
people, every Myst game is a Graphic Adventure...
This is one of those "Hey, is this really for the column?" letters
Whatever happened to Sailor Dune's page? With
Xenosaga just out, I thought to myself, "Wow, those
Xenogears comics were rad to the max!" But
mysteriously, as with all things that seem to mak eone
blissful, Sailor Dune has vanished. Are the comics
still around at least?
(And slimes don't reproduce via GP, they lay eggs.
Just ask Mr. Monster.....MUAHAHA!)
To those who are unaware, Sailor Dune, in addition to being my cousin and the acting left hemisphere of
my brain, was once known for a series of comics spoofing Xenogears. Then for one reason or other like
an ISP swap, his page went poof. But lo, it went with the promise of returning some day, like the monster
from a horror movie, or Frosty. If it comes down to it, I'll have to steal yon comics next time I see him
and throw them up on my page. The Gazelle Ministry one is priceless.
Concerning the letter by BL Alien, about the annoyance of the countdown to
shipdate, when nobody is going to get it, well he was mistaken there. I had
preordered my copy of Xenosaga at Gamestop, and imagine my surprise when on
Feb. 24, 2003, I got a call stating that on Feb 25, 2003, after 5 pm PST, I
would be able to pick up my copy of Xenosaga at the store. Come Feb 25,
2003, 5:18 pm PST, I stop by in the store, and picked up my copy of the game
right there and then and went home. Of course, I haven't bothered to play
it yet, as I'm still slowly but surely finishing my Import version of
Xenosaga, but one of these days I'll get around to finishing the game.
Especially with the help of the english strategy guide. That will
definetely speed things up a bit.
Oh by the way, for the last couple months at work, I've been slowly going
through the archives for this column, all the way at the beginning when it
was called Q&AK, and I noticed that on Nov. 25, 1998, and Dec. 4, 1998, that
a Googleshng had mailed in a letter that got posted on those columns. So I
was wondering, are those letter written by you, or by someone else? I've
only gotten up to mid Feb of 1999, so I don't know if there's anymore or
not, but I find it to be a tad amusing, especially reading some of my old
letters that got posted on the column as well.
See, that's why everyone just posts ship dates. Depending where you live, when you get it can vary widely.
Oh, and yes, before I started running this column, I used to read it and write in regularly. I mean REGULARLY
too. The day I was hired was the first day in the history of this site when i didn't send a letter in.
The ironic part? I can never think of questions on the weekends now.
It's my birthday next week, and I'm know I'm gonna get xenosaga. However i'll probably get enough cash to pick up another game from relatives. I was considering Skies of Arcadia mainly because i love my Gamecube to pieces and need a good RPG for it. But what's so good about the game that made you love it so?
I hope this letter finds you well.
Barieuph "The Thunder Plains are a pain" @hotmail.com
I'd normally love to praise SoA at you, but as I just fought off a flu recently and could probably use
some extra sleep tonight, I'll take the lazy way out and just point you at our
review and hope that covers it.
I say I need sleep, and then I print 3 more letters.
Hiya, just wanted to ask a few questions...
First, I've read somewhere on RPGamer that one of the
later episodes of Xenosaga will be a remake of
Xenogears. Now that's all fine and dandy, but I was
wondering, would there be any legal problems,
considering Xenogears was published by Square? I don't
really know much about how copywrite works in relation
to the video game industry, or if Square themselves
actually own any kind of copywrites on Xenogears...
Secondly, back in the day, when a lot of now classic
RPGs were coming out for the playstaion, a little game
called Lunar: The Silver Star Story Complete was
released. I was a young lad, and had no means of
income and my parents to regularly support my video
gaming habit, so I was never able to pick it up. Now
that I have the means to pick it up money wise, I
can't find it anywhere. I mean, I'm sure I COULD find
it if I spent enough time, but I'm not usually the
kind of guy who goes out of his way to pick something
5 years old up. So anyway, pretty much all of your
opinions on RPGs match my own, therefor I respect it
greatly, a lot of people have been telling me it's a
must play, so do you think the game is good enough to
hunt down? Oh, and I don't care much for getting the
GBA remake...I want the anime cuts if I get it at all.
Well...I can't think of anything else, and that was
kind of long, so that'll be all.
Xenosaga- They worked all that out when the game was first announced with a nice little stock and pronoun
Lunar- The game has been rereleased more than any other game in history (insert cheap Capcom joke here),
so you should be able to find a copy somewhere. The most creative choice that comes to mind is eBay, but
you can probably find it cheaper if you poke around. Oh, and yes, it's worth it. Oldschool charm and whatnot.
Disco Stu is uh.. scratched.
I have a really great friend who gave me his PS1 for Christmas after he
found out he was getting a PS2 (see, we poor people have to make good
friends and be very patient in order to get any sort of console beyond a
very modest PC--if that can be considered a console). Don't get me
wrong--I'm grateful beyond words. Problem is, the thing's kind of
ricketty, as it was used in ludicrous amounts by its previous owner (who
mastered FFVII literally scores of times). Ricketty, as in...well, you
know that little thing you put the disc on (henceforth referred to as the
"doohickey")? If I'm not careful, it comes off while I'm taking a disc out
of the PS.
At first, that wasn't too annoying. But recently, I decided that it might
be nice to play FF6 again. I first played it some years ago on an emulator
(yeah, yeah, I know) and really enjoyed it, so I thought it would be fun to
play it again. Thing is, the disc I have is really scratched up, and I
don't have the money to blow thirty bucks on my own copy of FFA. Sure, I
know about the "turning the PS upside-down" trick, but if I try that, the
doohickey falls off, and the disc spins like a top on the lid of the PS.
Thus far, I've pretty much been playing (I've only gotten to the point
where I can first leave Narshe--as in, really early on) rather tentatively,
sending up a prayer every once in awhile that this won't be the part where
the disc stops on a scratch. And yes, it's already happened.
So here's my question: are there any other tricks to use for scratched
P.S. I was looking through some of the old archives while bored and
stumbled upon an old letter I sent some time ago. I had a good laugh at
myself when I realized I'd accidentally asked Lord Brian for the title of
the wrong CC song. I'd meant to ask for the title of the song that seems
to be the theme of the Dragon gods, not the music it plays during the
battle with Miguel. Oops. There, now you can laugh at me, too.
There are many ways to fix a scratched CD, ranging from the officially recognized (using a disc fixing
kit), to the dubious (was it toothpaste or shaving cream?) I'd suggest doing something about getting a
working PSX though.
This is odd.
Okay I just got Xenosaga in the mail today and have played about the first 6 hours of it, and so far, I am really unimpressed. The dialogue is really dull, the characters are boring, and the gameplay
is hardly even there. I know that as far as gameplay goes that I should have expected it from seeing all the reviews floating around, but still, the whole thing just seems...bland and boring. I
think the character designs are really nice, but that's about as far as it goes. I really hope the game gets better, because I loved Xenogears to death. Anyway, that's about it. Thanks for reading,
and see ya later!
OK, so basically what you're saying here is "I bought a game which I didn't think I would like based on
everything I heard about it, and I didn't like it!"
You'll have to excuse my lack of sympathy on the matter.